Isolation and References in TS Eliot’s “J. Alfred Prufrock” and “The Hollow Men”

“That is not what I meant at all; That is not it, at all.”

– T. S. Eliot, ‘The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock’ (1915)

 

Eliot’s poems “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” and “The Hollow Men” are different in subject matter, but they both share the thematic framework and tone that one would expect from the author of “The Waste Land.” They can also be read as two sides of the same coin that depicts Eliot’s view of the modern world: the individual perspective, and its societal counterpart. While “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” seems to be a personal account of a dream vision, “The Hollow Men” features a collective voice of individuals who have lost their individuality and identity, and they both coexist in a world that is defined by isolation as a result of a communication breakdown. In both poems, Eliot sets the tone with references to other works, much like in “The Waste Land”, and constructs the voice of each poem based on that tone. In this way, the epigraphs serve to set the poems in their respective literary contexts in the eyes of the reader. In turn, the voice of each poem uses additional references to further explore the themes that dominate them. The main themes of isolation and miscommunication in “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” and “The Hollow Men” are rooted in the voices that Eliot has constructed, and are highlighted by the literary references enriching these voices. Continue reading

“Goods” by Jon Steinhagen

Most of us knew the main points of the unsettling thing that happened to Sarita Pench within eight hours of it happening to her. Sarita traditionally wasted no time broadcasting her trials and tribulations to the rest of us through social networking, the incident in question definitely falling under the heading of tribulation – not because of what actually happened (uncanny as it was), but because of what Sarita thought had actually happened (fact + fear).

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“The Master” by Anri Haxhi

You evil is divine

Your injection is sex

And I don’t need to try

To show you what’s best

 

I lose track of time

Mysterious, complex

I wish that you were mine

I fear what might come next

 

I hunger and I strive

I feel I must pretend

I am shallow and I’m blind

I am what you know best

 

The stronger the desire

The further I command

I want you to be mine

You have to understand

 

There’s no one home, baby

And there’s no wrong

I have waited for so long, baby

And it’s almost dawn

 

I’ll show you what’s on my mind

Penetrate my brain from the inside

I feel I must surrender my pride

No other mask is needed

Mine will do fine

“Sacrifice”

 

The deeper the better, right through my chest

I know, love, destroying is the thing you do best       

The longer the better, when it’s your hand

No torture  is too much, you will understand

Love is that which snaps              

Your veins and fills the cracks

Black blood on ivory

On the statue of goddess

Same old irony

The beauty’s the beast

Who slaughters the hopeless

Drowning like the wave

Melting like the flame

Boiling like the soul

In the dark

The temple is ready, the path is clear

This pain is barely unbearable my dear

Everyone’s ready, smashed grapes on the stairs

You’re about to witness what’s the opposite of stars

Drowning like the wave

Melting like the flame

Boiling like the soul

In the dark, the darkness whence it came